Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Gitxsan First Nation to block CN railway

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

Shelby Thom

The Gitxsan First Nation in Hazelton is vowing to follow through on its promise and evict non Aboriginal users of its territory.

 

Chief negotiator Gwaans Bev Clifton Percival says there will be “activity” on the CN rail tracks tonight.

“CN Rail has been trying to help us out here, trying to tell the Crown to deal with this issue, but to no avail so the eviction will just move forward.”

Buoyed by a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision, hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan First Nations served eviction notices to CN Rail, logging companies and sport fishermen to leave their lands last month.

Percival said these companies had until Aug. 4 to cease operations and leave 33,000 square kilometers of Gitxsan territory along the Skeena River in northwestern British Columbia.

Clifton Percival says the band has been trying to negotiate a treaty with the Crown since 2001 but hasn’t made any progress and hasn’t had any negotiations for several years.

She says in 2012, some of the lands awarded to the Gitxsan in an earlier high court ruling were given to the neighbouring Kitsumkalum and Kitselas nations in an agreement in principle signed with the provincial and federal governments.

The Gitxsan says because of the Crown’s failure to consult them, the companies are trespassing.

Clifton Percival says timber sales, fishing licenses and rail shipments can continue after the Crown has obtained the consent of their chiefs.

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